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Study: Principal turnover bodes poorly for schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
About 20 percent of principals new to a school leave that posting within one or two years, leaving behind a school that generally continues on a downward academic slide after their departure, according to a study released by the RAND Corp. on behalf of New York City-based New Leaders. "The underlying idea is that churn is not good," said Gina Schuyler Ikemoto, an author of the report and the executive director of research and policy development for New Leaders, formerly known as New Leaders for New Schools. The nonprofit group recruits and trains principals to work in urban districts. More


Redshirting: Holding kids back from kindergarten
CBS News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kindergarten "redshirting" is on the rise. That's the practice of parents holding their children back from kindergarten so they can start school at age 6 — older, bigger, and more mature than their 5-year-old peers. Some research shows that redshirting will give these youngsters an edge in school, and maybe even in life. But is it fair? More

Common core brings K-12, higher education together
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If college and university faculties do not embrace the common-core standards as solid indicators of college readiness, what do the standards mean? That was one of the big questions hovering over a national forum here this week about how pre-collegiate and higher education can work together to use the new English/language arts and mathematics standards as the basis for stronger curricula, instruction, teacher preparation and college success. The three-day gathering was organized to showcase Kentucky's push to bring its K-12 and higher education systems together to improve students' preparation for further study after high school. More

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Why it's important to talk math with kids
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Do you speak math with your kids? Many of us feel completely comfortable talking about letters, words and sentences with our children — reading to them at night, helping them decode their own books, noting messages on street signs and billboards. But speaking to them about numbers, fractions, and decimals? Not so much. And yet studies show that "number talk" at home is a key predictor of young children's achievement in math once they get to school. Now a new study provides evidence that gender is part of the equation: Parents speak to their daughters about numbers far less than their sons. More

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Educators work to make state history relevant for today's students
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Andrew Marsh's students at Danny Jones Middle School in Mansfield, Texas, walk around mouthing lyrics about the Runaway Scrape, Spanish presidios, Anson Jones and the Know-Nothing Party, they're not killing time. They're studying Texas history. The songs, which borrow tunes from the likes of Dr. Dre, Eminem and Maroon 5, are the most popular of Marsh's classroom innovations. More


New study: 4-day school schedule improves math and reading performance
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mary Beth Walker, dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, has just published the draft of a study looking at four-day school weeks and their impact on elementary school students. Her study offers a surprising conclusion: The adoption a four-day school week had a positive and often statistically significant relationship with performance in both reading and mathematics. The study estimates the impact of the four-day school week on student achievement using fourth-grade reading and fifth-grade mathematics test scores in Colorado; more than a third of Colorado districts have adopted four-day schedules. More

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Teaching kids to be 'digital citizens' (not just 'digital natives')
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most young people know more about technology than adults because the fast-changing tech world is alien to us, wildly different from the one we grew up in. But being a "digital native" is not the same as being a "digital citizen." Young people have always needed ethical guidance and the security of rules and boundaries. That's more true now because today's technologies have unprecedented power to harm, as we have seen in documented cases of cyber-bullying and harassment. More

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Radon in schools: Many classrooms threatened by cancer-causing gas, districts don't require testing
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A toxic, cancer-causing gas is threatening the health of students in thousands of classrooms across the country, but many districts aren't doing anything about it. In an investigative report for TODAY, Jeff Rossen reports that radioactive radon gas — which is invisible, odorless and tasteless — exist in classrooms across the country at levels nearly twice the Environmental Protection Agency's accepted limit. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, just behind smoking. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water that seeps into the air. More


Can a school be sued for a shooting? via Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School shootings can leave communities devastated. They can also leave aching parents looking for a place to lay the blame. As such, school shooting lawsuits have become a common part of mourning, popping up almost immediately after one of these horrifying events. Many of these suits focus on the school. Victims feel educators and administrators should have done more. While these feelings are valid, do they form the basis of a good lawsuit? Can a parent successfully sue a school for a shooting that killed or injured their child? These types of lawsuits have historically been met with mixed success for a number of reasons, one of which is the lack of connection between the school's actions and the student's decision to shoot. More

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Hard-working teachers sabotaged when student test scores slip
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For 15 years, Anna Allanbrook has been the principal of Public School 146 in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the highest-achieving elementary schools in the city. In that time, she has never had a more talented and hard-working bunch than the current team of fifth-grade teachers. The five have lunch together daily, using the time to plan. They stay until 7 p.m. on Fridays to prepare for the following week. More


Couch potatoes, rejoice — Learning can be passive
Time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You've heard it before, and it's true: we learn by doing. But we also learn by watching. Whether it's a salsa teacher running through a dance sequence, a tennis coach demonstrating proper serving technique or a science professor conducting a dissection in front of the class, observing an expert at work is an opportunity to hone our own skills. This is especially true in the case of motor movements, and research in neuroscience is beginning to show why: when we watch someone else's motions, the parts of the brain that direct our own physical movements are activated. Observation accelerates the learning process because our brains are able to map others' actions onto our own mental representations, making them more detailed and more accurate. Using brain scans, scientists are figuring out how this process works — and how we can make the most of what we see. More

Teacher-prep negotiators divided over federal rules
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The tenor of discussions held here last week by negotiators rewriting federal rules on teacher preparation underscored deep-seated philosophical divisions within the field, including the thorny issue of how much responsibility schools of education should bear for producing effective teachers. Though the panelists did reach compromises on several occasions, negotiators differed on the degree to which teacher-preparation programs should be rated on outcome measures; how aggressive the federal government should be in holding programs accountable for such results; and the ramifications of any new requirements on states with training programs of varying sizes and missions. More

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Santorum's shifting views on education
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is scornful of the government's hand in public education, pointing out that he and his wife have home-schooled their seven children. Yet back when Santorum was a senator from Pennsylvania, he got a Pittsburgh-area school district to help pay tens of thousands of dollars in tuition for his children to receive online schooling. It's a bit of history that's unknown to most of those now hearing Santorum pitch for conservative votes he needs to overtake GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. Santorum says he wants to dramatically curtail the role states and the federal government play in running schools. More

Mayor Villaraigosa lobbies Gov. Brown to make firing teachers easier in California
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lobbied Gov. Jerry Brown to make it easier for the Los Angeles Unified School District to fire teachers. In a letter to Brown, Villaraigosa said that the district paid teacher accused of abuse $40,000 to leave the profession because the process of dismissing him was too onerous. He noted, also, that average dismissals cost the district $300,000. More

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Budget cuts may threaten city programs for children
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It has become an annual New York drama: cutbacks in the mayor's proposed budget loom, with threats of firehouses being shut down, arts programs slashed and senior centers closed, only to be followed by restorations in the City Council. Yet the drama does not have a happy ending for everyone, and some of the cutbacks are eventually enacted. This year, many families are concerned that cuts to child care and after-school programs could result in 47,000 children losing access to those services, advocates for the programs said. More

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Attention to kids' progress urged in gauging schools
The Des Moines Register    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Student academic growth would be considered alongside proficiency when gauging school performance under a proposal included in Iowa's No Child Left Behind waiver application. While the federal law relies heavily on test scores to determine a school's performance, Iowa's proposed accountability system would give equal weight to student progress and competency, allowing some schools now flagged as "in need of improvement" to shed the label. More


Los Angeles Unified bans blindfolding during lessons
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new fourth-grade reading program recommends using blindfolds to help students learn about sensory details. But in light of the Miramonte Elementary case in California, district officials consider it prudent to eliminate the eye coverings. More

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San Francisco schools waive seniority for some in layoffs
San Francisco Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teacher Kathleen Florita recited from memory a note she received from a student at San Francisco's historically low-performing Everett Middle School. "Please don't leave like everyone else does," wrote the student. Florita would have been among the first to get a pink slip this year in what has become an annual ritual of teacher layoffs based on her low seniority. It appears not this year. More

Just around the corner: Dynamic program, the latest technology, expert speakers
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In less than a month, the NAESP Annual Conference and Expo — BEST PRACTICES FOR BETTER SCHOOLS™ — will be kicking off in Seattle. With engaging speakers, an exciting location, and ample opportunities for learning and networking, it's the most enriching national conference for K-8 principals. Don't miss out — register today. More

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Ready to make a career move? Check the NAESP Career Center's latest opportunities
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The revitalized NAESP Career Center, supported by Job Target, is the only dedicated national job bank for principals in public and private elementary and middle schools. With more jobs, a wider network and powerful career coaching tools, the Career Center is your go-to resource for finding and landing your perfect position. More
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Educators and researchers gathered January 23 in Washington, D.C., to examine the continuing controversy over the role of handwriting instruction, especially cursive, in schools. Review the research and learn more about Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit, sponsored by Zaner-Bloser in partnership with American Association of School Administrators.
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Before the Bell is a digest of the most important news selected for NAESP from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The presence of such advertising does not endorse, or imply endorsement of, any products or services by NAESP. Neither NAESP nor Multiview is liable for the use of or reliance on any information contained in this briefing.

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